Motivation: Understanding your WHY

Motivation, Success and Understanding

I’ve written about motivation before on this blog and it’s a major theme in “The Athlete within You”. Understanding what drives you is very important to your success. This came up the other day with one of my client / athletes. In going over her ESi (Emotional Intelligence Sports Inventory) we discussed her low Achievement Drive. A part of a measure of her internal motivation. The first question I generally ask of course is “WHY do you compete?” Usually I get a fairly trivial answer or one that doesn’t often ring true. With some exploration we generally start to see a better clearer picture of why someone competes and what their purpose is playing a sport. In my gymnast’s case, she thought she was competing to to get into the college of her choice. As we explored her “why” it became clear to her that her real motive was to be part of something special at college. I could see a change in her behavior and her emotions as she understood her “why”. Understanding her why gave her the conviction to commit to part of her routine at State and Regional’s that had recently caused her to fear her dismount in one of the events.  Understanding her “Why” isn’t the only technique I taught her to use in overcoming her fear, but her understanding made it far easier for her to believe in herself and that she could place and move on to Regional’s and then National’s.

I got a message from her mother last night and then an email from her this morning that she finished in the top four in all round and took first in one event and will be headed to Nationals.  I pretty good change for someone stuck three weeks ago fearing that her dream might be finished.  I am really happy for her.

I’m not writing about her accomplishment because I need to brag about being good at what I do. After 30 years of working with athletes, her story is familiar and while I do myself feel great about helping her, (It is my Why after all), I wanted to write about her because she demonstrates so clearly by example what happens when you increase your self awareness and discover your “WHY”.

As I got ready to write this post, a Facebook “friend” posted a video on his drive for success and I want to share it with you here. It is a very short video. The athlete is Bryan Clay. Bryan is the reigning World and Olympic Gold medalist in Decathlon. I have a soft spot for decathletes as one of my first clients was one. So here is the short video.